Editor of the Bucks Bird Club Bulletin
This is an extract from my first editorial in the bulletin:
Welcome to the October Bucks Bird Club Bulletin. Hello everyone, let me start my first note by saying a huge thank you to Andrew for handling editorial duties over the last two and a half years. Editing such a bulletin on a regular basis is no mean feat – as I’m about to find out! – so I hope I can continue Andrew’s good work and make these bulletins as varied, interesting, and enjoyable as possible for you all.
October is for me the quintessential autumn month. Leaves turn brown and fall, fruits and berries ripen in the hedges, and a major transition occurs in our birdlife. By the end of the month, the last lingering Swallows or warblers have pushed off, and winter migrants are taking their place.
Many of you will in previous years have enthusiastically headed out to your local patch to experience what birders call “vis-mig”, or visible migration. For those that haven’t tried this out, I heartily recommend doing so! To stand in one spot, as a bleary dawn sun nudges its way above the clouds, and watch migrating birds fly over your head, is a thrilling experience. Common birds such as Redwings, Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches can often be seen in excellent numbers. Picking the birds out as they call, then watching them all follow a particular line of flight that’s somehow hardwired into their instincts is genuinely one of the delights of the birding calendar. If you’re lucky then you may well see rarer species too, such as Hawfinch, Brambling, Woodlark and Ring Ouzel.
Bucks is well equipped with suitable vis-mig watchpoints, unsurprisingly with a southern bias. Steps Hill/Ivinghoe Beacon is justly famous as our best spot, but anywhere along the Chiltern ridge could easily produce results. Even for those of us in the north, rather starved of the ridges and hills that birds use, all is not lost. Isolated spots such as Tattenhoe, Great Brickhill, and even Central Milton Keynes have produced encouraging results in the past. And that’s the beauty of vis-mig. Some spots are better than others, but these migrants are passing through virtually everywhere. So, if you haven’t tried it yet then give it a go – you might be surprised at what you’ll find!
I’ll end my first editorial with an appeal. I’m always on the lookout for articles for the monthly bulletin. I have a couple in the pipeline but I’m always keen to hear from members. Your content helps make the bulletin the success it is! If you have any proposals for an article then please get in touch. Obviously if the proposal is relevant to Bucks birding and birders then that’s preferable. However, in this new era where some of us simply can’t get away like we used to, a good old trip report to make us jealous would also go down well. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.